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You are on page 1of 24

Practical Workbook

Versions

By the end of these notes, you will have discovered more features available within Excel

in relation to carrying out scientific tasks within the University. You will learn how to:

This document was written for use with Excel XP (2002). However, it is also suitable for use

• chart separatewithdata series;

Excel 2000, with a few differences that are noted in the text.

• fit a line to a set of data;

• enter an array function;

• predict values using the trend function;

• plot an arbitrary function;

• graph data with error bars;

• create a custom chart format;

• import data from text files.

Excel: scientific examples (excelxp-t4)

Document information

If you are working in the training room the files you need are in C:\User\Excel.

If you want to work through the practical tasks shown in this document on your own system,

obtain the necessary files from:

www.bristol.ac.uk/is/learning/documentation/docs-current.html#excelxp-t4

You will see a link to Practice files. This contains the files you need to work through the course

notes. In Internet Explorer you extract the files as follows:

• Click on Practice files;

• Choose Save.

• Browse to where you want to save the file and click on Save (the practice files are grouped

together, and you need to extract them to be able to use the individual files);

• Go to the file you have just saved, and Open or Run it to show the Self-extracting Archive

box;

• Select where to extract (save) the files on your system using the browse button (as

shown opposite);

• Click Start to save the files.

Related documentation

www.bristol.ac.uk/is/learning/documentation/docs-by-category.html#ss

http://www.bristol.ac.uk/is/learning/documentation/excelxp-t4/excelxp-t4.doc

If you have any comments or queries about this document mail iser-docs@bristol.ac.uk.

This document may be used wholly or in part by the academic community, providing suitable

acknowledgment is made. It may not be used for any commercial or profit-making purpose

without permission. © 2006 University of Bristol. All rights reserved.

Excel: scientific examples (excelxp-t4)

Contents

Related documentation

Task 2 Using time in charts............................................... ...............................2

Task 3 Fitting a line to a set of data.................................. ...............................4

Task 4 Array functions (TREND)............................................................... ........6

Task 5 Plotting experimental data................................................... .................8

Task 6 Refreshable text import................................................................ .........9

Task 7 Plotting an arbitrary function................................................. .............11

Task 8 Charts: axis formatting..................................................................... ...13

Task 9 Plotting data points with error bars..................... ..............................14

Task 10 Setting chart preferences............................................................. .....16

Excel: scientific examples (excelxp-t4)

Introduction

Excel is the University's recommended spreadsheet product for Windows on PCs.

This document contains illustrative examples. These examples can be worked through

exactly according to the notes or you can vary them. Remember that the examples have

been devised to show various aspects of Excel and you do not need to work through them

all.

Data used in these example spreadsheets is fictitious. We remind you that if you store

personal information relating to individuals on a spreadsheet, you must comply with the

requirements of the Data Protection Act. Further information about the Data Protection Act

can be obtained from the Registrar's Office.

Prerequisites

This document assumes that you have some previous experience of using spreadsheets,

particularly to create formulas covered in the notes Getting started with Excel (document

excelxp-t1). You should also have experience of using charts, range names and functions,

which are covered in the notes Further Excel (document excelxp-t3).

See the Related Documentation section in the inside front cover for the location of these

documents.

Excel: scientific examples (excelxp-t4)

Objectives To create an Excel graph from separate series of data.

Comments This example uses readings taken at different sites at variable time intervals.

1.1 Open the workbook C:\User\Excel\Scentific.xls and use the sheet Series.

1.2 With no data selected, click the Chart Wizard, select the chart type XY

(Scatter) and the fourth subtype (scatter with data points

connected by lines).

1.3 Click Next and click the Series tab.

1.4 Click the Add button to define Series 1.

In the Name box type Site 1.

Click in the X Values box then select the range B3:B6.

Click in the Y Values box then select the range C3:C6.

1.5 Click the Add button to define Series 2.

In the Name box type Site 2.

Click in the X Values box then select the range B10:B13.

Click in the Y Values box then select the range C10:C13.

1.6 Click the Add button to define Series 3.

In the Name box type Site 3.

Click in the X Values box then select the range B17:B21.

Click in the Y Values box then select the range C17:C21.

1.7 Click Next and add the titles shown in Figure 1.

1.8 Click Next then Finish.

1

Excel: scientific examples (excelxp-t4)

Objectives To solve problems with the display of time in charts.

Comments The method you use will depend on the data.

Note Ignore the Day data in column A for the present.

2.2 Use the method from to create an XY (Scatter) chart for the two series of data:

Series Name X Values Y Values

Patient 1 B4:B11 C4:C11

Patient 2 B18:B27 C18:C27

It should look like Figure 2.

Warning! In Figure 2, any times beyond midnight on Day 1 (i.e. Day 2, etc) are plotted as

though they are actually on Day 1. The next section solves this problem in

various ways.

In this example the readings for the patients start on different dates, but for each

patient we want this to be counted as Day 0, so the data are plotted to compare

“like with like”. The first day of sampling is Day 0, the second is Day 1 and so on.

2.3 Click the Time 2 sheet.

2.4 In cell C4, enter the formula = A4+B4 and Autofill down as far as C11. Repeat to

create formulae in cells C18:C27.

2

Excel: scientific examples (excelxp-t4)

Series Name X Values Y Values

Patient 1 C4:C11 D4:D11

Patient 2 C18:C27 D18:D27

Patients' Readings

70

60

50

Reading

40 Patient 1

30 Patient 2

20

10

0

00:00 12:00 00:00 12:00 00:00 12:00

Time

If you want to see actual dates as well as times on the chart:

2.6 Examine the Time 3 sheet.

You will see that explicit dates and times have been given on this sheet and the

data has been graphed. Typing the date and time in the same cell is tedious! The

date and time are both given on the X axis.

2.7 If you want the date/time to be plotted, but only the time to show on the axis,

reformat the data in Column A to show time only as follows:

Choose Format/Cells/Number tab, then Custom category.

Choose the format hh:mm.

The dates are now hidden on the X axis, but the shape of the chart is

unchanged.

If you have a lot of dates to enter, the method shown in the Time 4 sheet will

speed things up.

2.8 Examine the Time 4 sheet, especially the formulas. Columns D and E contain

the plotted data.

3

Excel: scientific examples (excelxp-t4)

Objectives To show how Excel may be used to find the best fit of a straight line to a set of

data points.

Comments The example in this task is based on experimental measurements of the length of

a spring under given loads; theory predicts a linear relationship between these

two variables.

3.1 Open the file C:\User\Excel\Scentific.xls. You will use the sheet Loads.

3.2 Select the range A4:B9.

3.3 Use the Chart Wizard to produce a chart similar to that shown in Figure 4,

choosing an XY (Scatter) chart of Type 1 and insert the headings and labels as

shown:

Select Chart/Add Trendline from the toolbar, which will produce a dialog box

as shown in Figure 5.

3.5 Select the Linear type for the trend-line.

Click on the Options tab and choose to display the Equation and the R-

squared value on the chart.

Click on OK.

4

Excel: scientific examples (excelxp-t4)

3.6 Drag the box containing the Equation and the R-squared value to a suitable

position on the chart.

3.7 Save the file.

As can be seen in Figure 6, the results accord very well with the theory (an R-

squared value of 1 would represent a perfect fit).

5

Excel: scientific examples (excelxp-t4)

Objectives To predict the length of the spring under different loads using the TREND

function.

Comments This is an example of an array function. Array functions are entered a little

differently from other functions and it is important to follow the

instructions exactly as shown!

An array formula can perform multiple calculations at once and then return either

a single result or multiple results. Array formulas act on two or more sets of

values known as array arguments. Each array argument must have the same

number of rows and columns. You create array formulas in the same way that

you create other formulas, except you press <Ctrl> + <Shift> + <Enter> to

enter the formula.

For example, given a series of known spring lengths (in column B) for a series of

known loads (in column A), the TREND function can predict the spring lengths for

some new loads (see Figure 7). To do so, it determines the straight line values

that would be plotted on a graph like that produced in .

In the worksheet used in , enter in A10:A14 the new values shown in Figure 7 to

represent the new loads for which the length of the spring will be predicted.

4.1 Highlight the range B10:B14, which will be used to hold the predicted values.

4.2 Click the Insert Function icon , select Statistical and then TREND.

4.3 Click OK.

4.4 In the resulting dialog box, enter the data values as shown in Figure 8, either by

typing them or by clicking each box in turn and highlighting the range of cells in

question.

Hint: you may need to 'collapse' the dialog box by clicking on the button to the

right of the value.

6

Excel: scientific examples (excelxp-t4)

4.5 The Formula Bar should now read as follows:

=TREND(B4:B9,A4:A9,A10:A14).

4.6 To enter the array function do not click on OK, but hold down <Ctrl> and

<Shift> and then press <Enter>.

Note This is the method used to enter array functions (that produce multiple results),

rather than simple functions.

The set of numbers in the range B10:B14 represent the predicted length of the

spring for the corresponding loads.

4.7 Format the numbers to 2 decimal places.

4.8 These new values can easily be added to the chart created in Task 1 by selecting

the range A10:B14 and dragging and dropping the selection into the chart area.

Note In the TREND function, the parameter const determines whether or not the line

is to pass through the origin; if omitted, or if the value is TRUE, the constant will

be evaluated. If the value is FALSE, the line will be forced to pass through the

origin. For the purposes of this example, leave Const blank.

7

Excel: scientific examples (excelxp-t4)

Objectives To take the average of four sets of readings and plot the result.

Comments This example assumes that a set of experimental data has been obtained and

stored in a text file in what is known as standard ASCII text. The data consists of

four sets of 49 values, each separated by a comma with each set of data on a

new line. Most programs and systems can produce data in this form.

At the end of this task, the Excel worksheet should look similar to that in Figure 9.

5.2 Insert two new rows above the data starting in cell A1.

Enter worksheet titles in cells A1 and A8, as shown in Figure 9.

5.3 Click in cell A9 and enter the formula to calculate the average for the values in

cells A3:A6 (=AVERAGE(A3:A6)).

5.4 Using the drag and fill handle in the bottom right of cell A9, copy this formula to

cells B9:AW9.

5.5 Select the data range A9:AW9 and click on the Chart Wizard icon to plot

the selected data:

Select the chart type Line and the second subtype (Stacked Line).

From Step 3 select Titles to add a chart title.

Select Gridlines and Legend to remove these 2 features.

Insert the chart as an object in Data1 (immediately below the data).

5.6 Close the file, saving it as an Excel file called Task3.xls

8

Excel: scientific examples (excelxp-t4)

Objectives To create a link between an Excel spreadsheet and a text file, such that the

spreadsheet can be refreshed to reflect any changes made to the original text

file.

Comments This feature is useful in areas where data is collected in raw text format, perhaps

by some other equipment and then manipulated in Excel in some way. The

Refreshable Text Import feature is not available in versions of Excel before

2000.

6.1 To see what the data we are going to use looks like, open the text editor Notepad

as follows:

From the Start menu, choose Programs then Accessories and Notepad.

From the File menu, choose Open.

From the Files of Type box, select All Files.

Find the file C:\User\Excel\data1.csv and click on Open.

You will see 4 lines of data separated by commas; the data is known as comma

delimited.

Close Notepad.

6.2 In Excel, open a blank worksheet and click on cell A1.

6.3 From the Data menu, select Import External Data/Import Data (in Excel

2000, select Get External Data/Import Text File).

6.4 From the Files of type dropdown menu, select All Files. Select

C:\User\Excel\Data1.csv and click on Open.

6.5 Use the Text Import Wizard as follows:

In Step 1, to accept Delimited as the file type, click on Next.

In Step 2, under Delimiters, untick Tab and tick Comma to determine how the

data is separated then click on Next.

In Step 3, leave the Column data format as General then click on Next.

Click on Finish.

6.6 Click on OK to place the data in cell A1 of your current spreadsheet.

6.7 Work with the data in the same way as in steps - from Task 5.

6.8 Save the file as a spreadsheet (Task4.xls).

6.9 In NotePad, open the file C:\User\Excel\data1.csv.

Make an obvious change to the data (for example, change the first entry from

10.36503 to 5).

Save the file.

6.10 Switch back to Excel and click on the worksheet, within the range A3:AW6.

6.11 From the Data menu select Refresh Data. Locate the file data1.csv and click

on Import.

Note Care should be taken when the original data file is extended rather than simply

modified as new data sets will not automatically be included in the range used by

the chart. In this example, additional rows of data will be included in the average

9

Excel: scientific examples (excelxp-t4)

value calculations, but values added after the 49th on each row will not. Any

extra data should be dragged into the chart, and any necessary formulae

extended, to update the chart.

6.12 To change the settings you made in the Text Import Wizard, click Edit Text

Import on the External Data toolbar. Select the text file and click Import.

If you want to import only part of the data in a text file as a refreshable data

range, you can create a query to retrieve the data (see the Office Assistant for

more information).

Note To obtain data from Microsoft Access, start from Access, select a table or query

and from the File menu, choose Export. Save the data as a workbook in the

Microsoft Excel 97-2002 format. There are choices to save the existing

formatting (column widths) and to automatically start Excel opening the newly

created file.

10

Excel: scientific examples (excelxp-t4)

Objectives To show how Excel may be used to plot functions and to investigate the way in

which the nature of the function depends on parameters.

Comments This data is used to create a chart in the next task.

Excel is a convenient and fairly powerful tool. If you are doing a lot of this type of

work, it will be worth investigating special-purpose packages such as

Mathematica, Maple and Macsyma. For many applications, however, the ease of

use and convenience of a spreadsheet will be a considerable advantage.

7.1 Open the file C:\User\Excel\Scentific.xls. You will use the sheet Function.

In this example, we wish to explore the function

Ax 3 + Bx 2 + Cx + D + E(sin(3x)) 2 .

In order to make the worksheet flexible, it is necessary to be able to change the

parameters A, B, C, D and E and also change the plotting increment.

Note The final worksheet (at the end of the next task) will look similar to that on page

13. The parameters and the plotting increment can be changed by simply typing

the value required in the appropriate cell.

7.2 Typical values for parameters A to E have been entered in cells C4:C8. These

cells have been named (A, B, CC, D and E) for ease of use in the formula you

will create. Note that C is not a valid name so CC has been used. See Figure 10.

Click in the Name Box and check that the names A, B, CC, D and E apply to

cells C4, C5, C6, C7 and C8.

7.3 The values for x will start at 0 and be increased successively by the value in cell

I3, the typical plotting increment (0.04). I3 has been named Inc for ease of use

in the formula you will create. See Figure 10.

Click in the Name Box and check that the name Inc applies to cell I3.

7.4 Now set up the X plotting range. To get a smooth curve, we need at least 50

points.

11

Excel: scientific examples (excelxp-t4)

Cell B10 has the starting value, of 0. In cell C10 enter the formula:

=B10+Inc.

Copy this formula to the range D10:AZ10.

7.5 Enter the formula to calculate the Y values produced by the function as follows:

Select cell B11 and enter the formula:

=A*B10^3+B*B10^2+CC*B10+D+E*(SIN(3*B10))^2.

Copy this formula from B11 to the range C11:AZ11.

You can now see the nature of the function. The parameters A, B, C, D and E

and also the plotting increment, Inc, can be easily changed and the effects

observed. This ability to explore the nature of complex functions is one of the key

features of a spreadsheet.

7.6 Save the file. In the next task you will plot a chart of the function.

12

Excel: scientific examples (excelxp-t4)

Objectives To tidy up the charts displaying the origin on an axis.

Comments You will use the data created in .

The custom number format used below is a code in up to four parts. The format

codes, separated by semicolons, define the formats for positive numbers,

negative numbers, zero values, and text, in that order. If you specify only two

sections, the first is used for positive numbers and zeros, and the second is used

for negative numbers. If you specify only one section, it is used for all numbers. If

you skip a section, include the ending semicolon for that section. For example:

the range B10:AZ11 using an XY (scatter) chart of the third type with

smoothed lines and no markers.

8.2 You will see in that the X-axis origin is displayed on the Y-axis (above the point

-2.00).You will remove it for cosmetic reasons. You will also change the number

of decimal places displayed for the X-axis figures. Format the X-axis as follows:

Double-click the chart's X-axis to display the Format Axis dialog box.

Select the Number tab.

Click on Custom and type 0.0;-0.0;; in the Type: box (positive and negative

numbers will have one decimal place, zero will not be displayed and text

formatting is not being considered).

Click on OK.

13

Excel: scientific examples (excelxp-t4)

Objectives To chart errors bars with data points.

Comments When plotting scientific, experimental or statistical data, it is often useful to

include some measure of the error associated with the sample or reading. Excel

has the ability to associate error bars with data points, and to implement these

quite easily.

9.1 Use the file C:\User\Excel\Scentific.xls. Click the Errors sheet. This

worksheet contains approximately 100 data points and their errors.

Select chart type XY (Scatter), type 1.

Click Finish.

9.3 If the X axis scale goes up to 120, change it to 100 as follows:

Double-click the X axis to open the Format Axis box.

Click the Scale tab.

In the Maximum box, type 100 and remove the tick.

Click OK.

You can now continue with the exercise to add error bars to the data points.

Note Excel offers the ability to plot several different types of error bars:

Fixed Value - A constant used as the error amount for all data

points.

data point to be used as the error amount.

the mean of plotted values to be used as the error amount.

as the error amount for each data point.

14

Excel: scientific examples (excelxp-t4)

3.25, 2.5}) containing the same number of values as there are

data points in the series. Each value is a custom amount for the

corresponding data point.

9.4 To give each point a custom error of the value in the dE column:

Click the chart to edit it.

Double-click a data point to get the Format Data Series dialog box.

Choose the Y Error Bars tab and select the Custom radio button. This puts

the cursor in the + (positive error) box.

Click on the worksheet and select C2:C102. The text in the + box should read

ERRORS!$C$2:$C$102.

9.5 Repeat for the - (negative error) box and click OK.

9.6 Save the file.

Your chart should look like Figure 14.

15

Excel: scientific examples (excelxp-t4)

Objectives To save a preferred chart format.

Comments Having formatted a chart in just the way you want it, you can save this preferred

chart format to save you time on your next spreadsheet. You can save it either

as the default type or as an optional one.

10.1 Using the spreadsheet created in , click the chart to activate it.

10.2 To save a custom chart type:

From the Chart menu, choose Chart Type.

Select the Custom Types tab.

Click the User Defined option button.

Click Add.

In the Add Custom Chart Type dialog box, type a name and a description.

Click OK.

10.3 To try it out:

In new worksheet, enter the data shown in Figure 15.

Select A1:B7.

Click on the Chart Wizard icon.

At step 1, choose the Custom Types tab.

Click the User Defined button.

Select the chart type you created.

Click Finish (or Next to choose further options).

The graph should appear with all the preferences (default title, axis labelling, etc.)

as applied to the original graph.

Warning! When Excel constructs the error bars for the new set of data; it gets them wrong

(it uses the old ones). If you are using error bars, remember to update this field

when using new data. You can do this by double-clicking either a data point or an

error bar and clicking on the Y Error Bars tab. Enter your error bar information in

the same way as before (Task 7).

Note You can also set a custom chart as the default chart type.

16

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